Paul and I celebrated our 18th anniversary on Monday, April 27th. We are celebrating today by spending the day together while the kids are in school. To newlyweds 18 years seems like a long time, to those in the golden years we seem like newlyweds. I am forever grateful to God for Paul and our years together. They are quiet and mostly peaceful, even with 5 kids in the house. But most of all, our years together have been blessed by God, I can feel His presence in our lives every day. In that spirit, I offer a story...
My Favorite Date
My son, John often asks Paul and I questions about our childhood such as “What was your all-time favorite band?” and “What was your favorite TV show?” and “What was your favorite toy?” Recently, his questions have become more timely for his age, as he is now a teen-ager with an eye on dating girls. So, when he asked “What was your favorite date?” I was somewhat taken aback. This question required some deep thought, especially since Paul and I dated for five years before we were married and we had many lovely dates. But my favorite date? Hmmm…
I thought about all of our typical dates-dinner out, a movie, drinks at a bar with friends, picnicking at the beach-these were all very nice, but as a favorite none of them stood out.
Then I recalled one night that did linger in my memory, not because of how fun the night was, but because this was the night that I knew that God intended Paul to be my husband.
It was a bitter cold January night. I don’t think the temperature could have been higher than ten degrees below zero. I was living with my sister Cathy at the time and she and I picked up Paul and we drove to the UWM campus on the eastside of Milwaukee to pick up my nephew, David. The four of us went out to enjoy a traditional Friday night fish fry. After a warm meal with pleasant conversation, we returned to the bitter cold air and drove David back to his dorm.
While driving back to our homes on the northwest side of town, we saw a man run out into the middle of the street. The driver of the car next to us could not stop in time, and he hit the man with so much force that he flipped over the car and landed face down in the street!
We ran to him and heard him moaning in tremendous pain. We saw someone else run to a nearby house to seek help, so we stayed with the injured man. Paul was wearing a long, wool coat and he took it off and gently covered the man with it.
It was so cold out that Cathy and I couldn’t stand waiting outside for help to arrive any longer, so we returned to the car to warm up. Paul refused to join us. He stood there in the cold without his coat and kept telling the man “You’re going to be alright, you’ll be ok…” When the paramedics and police finally arrived, Paul remained outside until the man was safely inside the ambulance and he had finished giving his report to the police.
Paul is a hero with deep, compassionate love for his fellow human beings. The way he stood by that injured man reminded me of how Mary stood at the foot of the cross with Jesus. Like Mary, he remained there to silently offer comfort and support, and the quality that showed through his silence, was his great love.
I knew then and there that a man with so much love, compassion and strength of character would be a perfect husband for me. I could see God very clearly in Paul that night and knew that our marriage would be blessed from above. And eighteen years later, those blessings continue.
I trust that the unknown injured man was comforted and healed in God’s arms. And, I thank God for placing Paul so tenderly into my arms. There could not possibly be a better date than witnessing God’s love in action. This memory of love will remain with me always.